Summary: The only hope for humanity is found in the Lord Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection. This account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead has so many lessons for each of us. It is a message of hope in a hopeless circumstance. It is a
The only hope for humanity is found in the Lord Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection. This account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead has so many lessons for each of us. It is a message of hope in a hopeless circumstance. It is a message of victory in the time of defeat. It is a message of eternal life instead of eternal death. It is a message that will lift the heart, stir the soul, and spark new life into the heart of a downtrodden individual that is dead in sin, who has no hope for deliverance from their sad state.
If we are to look at this story and gain part of its deeper meaning it will be necessary to think of it in terms of which of the characters (Martha, Mary, Lazarus, & the Jews that were with the family) represent us, and what their condition was during this great miracle.
For all of humanity is represented in the hopelessness of the death of Lazarus and the pain and sorrow of his family until Jesus came upon the scene and turned hopelessness and despair into victory and power.
Jesus was away doing His duty and ministering to the people of Israel in their need. He healed the nobleman’s son, restored the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, multiplied the loaves of bread and fish and fed five thousand, and now He receives the news of Lazarus’ death. Because of his love for this family, He left the place where He was after two days of receiving the news and traveled to Bethany from Jerusalem.
Why did He not respond immediately after receiving the devastating news of his friend Lazarus like so many of us do? Why did He put others before His friends, when they needed Him at this particular time the most? His decision to delay coming appears callous and thoughtless. Does He not know that Martha & Mary is in a panic, pacing the floor waiting for Him? Why the delay?
The delay was because He loved the family, and that love would be clear within time. Moreover, the delay would also ensure that Lazarus would be dead long enough (meaning the process of decomposition had to take place), that no one would misinterpret the miracle He would perform. A miracle that would be more potent than all those He ever done and even more monumental than the raising of the widow’s son in Nain or Jairus’ daughter.
Therefore, when He heard that Lazarus was sick He continued to do the work in Jerusalem that He had come to do. He continued in Jerusalem until He knew, before anyone brought the news that Lazarus had died.
God knew that we would need a Savior long before the world was founded. For God placed the story of the gospel in the stars of the sky before He ever created the earth. His plans were already set in motion to provide salvation and redemption to a sick and dying world before Adam hit the scene.
According to our text, the first to meet Jesus as He came close to Bethany was Martha. She was overcome with grief at the loss of her beloved brother, and in verse twenty-one, she said unto Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Her response was not a rebuke of His delay, but a testimony of her trust in His healing power. Therefore, He said unto her, Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again!”
When it seems that all is lost, when you feel that the knot is unraveling in your hand, when you feel that the end has come and there is no more hope – that’s when Jesus comes on the scene with the greatest message of hope that we could ever hear.
Therefore, it does not matter what the circumstances say, or what other people think, or what impossibilities lay ahead, “You Shall Rise Again.”
When your family is on the brink of destruction – You shall rise again! When your capital has been depleted, and the vision appears dead – You shall rise again! When you feel depressed, despondent, and hopeless due to circumstances beyond your control – You shall rise again!
What a great message that was to my sin sick soul, when I fell at the Master’s feet and poured out my hopelessness and grief to Christ. For I heard Him speak those words to my heart and soul – You shall rise again, just trust “Me” through the process. Shame will not be your resting place.
These words are the greatest hope and promise that God could ever give to us, but all too often, we take the attitude of Martha. She believed in the resurrection but she had not yet come to know THE RESURRECTION. It’s easy to believe in a promise in some distant future but what about right here and now?